Division Title Central to Pacers’ Goals
Division championships don’t inspire cork-popping moments in NBA locker rooms. After all, the league has six of them each season, and they don’t carry intrinsic value beyond guaranteeing nothing worse than a No. 4 seed in the playoffs.
The Pacers, however, would take pride in winning the Central Division if they’re able to hang on to the six-game lead they take into Saturday night’s game at second-place Chicago. The magic number to clinch the title is eight. A victory at the United Center would drop it to six.
The Pacers have won four Central Division titles in their NBA history, in 1995, 1999, 2000 and 2004. A Fieldhouse banner commemorates those teams, and coach Frank Vogel would love to add this team to the list.
“It’s extremely important to win the division,” he said following Friday’s 102-78 victory over Milwaukee at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. “It’s something we set out to do at the beginning of the year. The division was going to be won … in head-to-head matchups with Chicago. Obviously we have a healthy lead right now, but we need to get (Saturday) night’s game.
The accomplishment has brought a desirable trend to past seasons. They’ve reached the conference finals every season they’ve won their division.